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View Full Version : Bike Squeeze on Walker Rd at NW 174th, Beaverton


lpthomas
11-23-2008, 09:01 AM
Hi all,

Just moved to E. side of Beaverton (from Colorado) and loving my bike commute, mostly along Walker Rd to NW 206th Ave. Except for this part:

I'm attaching 2 pictures of a narrow squeeze point just west of NW 174th Terrace & NW Walker Rd (looking west), where it goes over a culvert. Just gotta get up speed and hold my breath, hoping for no trucks at the same time (or pull over if there are), since traffic of course won't slow down and insists on passing me, even between these guardrails, crossing the yellow line if necessary to get around me.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3094/3186341167_2546f849ed_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ufobike/3186341167/) http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3438/3187180404_20cdf92eaa_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ufobike/3187180404/)

Later on my route, there's a fine solution to the same problem already in place! The next 2 pictures, just east of NW 191st Ave & NW Walker Rd, show a nice bike path around the road on both sides (try to ignore the trash). This is much safer for vehicles & bikes.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3498/3187180522_6ecd229b41_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ufobike/3187180522/) http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3451/3186341541_2f50712226_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ufobike/3186341541)

How can we lobby to put the same bike paths at 174th & Walker?

I see elsewhere in the forum that "bikieboy" seems to know who to contact in the cities. I did call 823-SAFE but didn't leave a message (yet) because that's for signal/sign maintenance issues, it seems. Anyone know a better number/person/office to call?

Or does somebody already know about this intersection and its history/status?

Is anyone else taking this route and similarly affected? (To pool our votes)

-Lincoln

bikieboy
11-23-2008, 10:12 AM
hi, Lincoln -- that is a nasty squeeze. The 823-SAFE number is for City of Portland, and this location is maintained by the City of Beaverton.

here's their transportation page - there's a problem reporting page, & see also the Bike Advisory Committee page, as you'd want to bring this to their attention as well as to the Wash. Co. Bicycle Coalition.

http://www.beavertonoregon.gov/transportation/

good luck!

hemp22
11-23-2008, 11:05 AM
That same section of Walker Rd was just discussed recently on page 2 of the "Skyline Drive" topic on this same forum. It's part of my regular commute and "shhambo"'s commute, and and at least a couple other folks that I know.

I don't know the history behind those squeezes or if there are any roadblocks to improving them, so contacting the city and reporting back here would be great.

Personally, when cars are coming up behind me there, I try to be assertive about taking the lane. I usually have enough speed going down the hill that's it's not too much of an inconvenience for the cars to wait for me until I move back to the shoulder on the other side of the guardrail.

Also, for what it's worth, I take the lane at the 191st squeeze also, rather than swerving through that little bike path. I prefer to keep my speed up for going back up the hill.

lynnef
11-23-2008, 03:26 PM
I don't know the history behind those squeezes or if there are any roadblocks to improving them, so contacting the city and reporting back here would be great.


History - well, back in the day, when I moved here in 1978, Walker Rd was 2 lanes, no shoulders, and ditches. Also, the last traffic light was at Cedar Hills. Murray was a 4-way stop, and there were no other lights or stops until 185th (also 2 lanes, no shoulders, ditches). I was working at 185th and Walker at the time; easiest commute was a straight shot out Walker Rd. I did it. Then went and bought my first cycling helmet ever that very day.

The bridges are from that era, if not before. When the road was widened, they just never did take care of the bridges...

letsroll
11-23-2008, 08:15 PM
History - well, back in the day, when I moved here in 1978, Walker Rd was 2 lanes, no shoulders, and ditches. Also, the last traffic light was at Cedar Hills. Murray was a 4-way stop, and there were no other lights or stops until 185th (also 2 lanes, no shoulders, ditches). I was working at 185th and Walker at the time; easiest commute was a straight shot out Walker Rd. I did it. Then went and bought my first cycling helmet ever that very day.

The bridges are from that era, if not before. When the road was widened, they just never did take care of the bridges...

LOL I was thinking the same think. In Jr high I use to ride a lot. Living in Hillsboro all roads were narrow two lanes with big ditches. Road walker from 185th all the way into beaverton and back and that road. Taking burnside out to sandy and back before bike lanes. The good old days....ya right :rolleyes:

Chilly Willy
12-03-2008, 02:39 AM
Isn't there a bike lane on Jenkins you can take?

djasonpenney
12-03-2008, 11:22 AM
OK, I'll weigh in here.

The history of Walker Road is one of steady widening over the last 30 years. I moved into the area about a year after lynnef, but I do remember that Walker was heavily patched chip seal and the last traffic light westbound was at Cedar Hills Boulevard.

As you have noted, the county has managed to widen most of its length, with the exception of the bridges. Bridges are expensive. BTW, they did a lot of work at 204th a number of years back, and a number of us were astonished and appalled that they put up pedestrian bridges (which are of no use to cyclists; they require one to reenter traffic and are slimy wooden things anyway).

To answer the most recent poster, when you get this far west, Baseline is effing far out of the way...like, about three quarters of a mile each way.

Cornell Road is starting to look attractive (hey, they're in the painting phase now, at which point it may become the preferred corridor) for east-west traffic between Cornelius Pass and SW 158th, but this is not much use if your destination is Amberglen (where I used to work).

In regard to the OP's concerns, I think you just have to bite the bullet and abandon the bike lane sooner, perhaps even before the second travel lane disappears as you travel west from SW 185th. Signal your intentions, commit to the remaining lane, and position yourself in the left third of the lane. Be sure to signal when you switch back to the bike lane, and give a friendly wave to any motorist that waited for you to cross the bridge.

If enough motorists complain that they're being slowed because they have to share the road, perhaps the county engineers might make a priority of tearing down the existing bridge (including the slimy slippery pedestrian bridges) and putting up a proper bridge to replace it.

lpthomas
01-10-2009, 03:24 PM
Interesting history. Times they are a changin', and it looks like they just haven't upgraded this spot yet like the rest of Walker. Yes I work in the AmberGlen area and Walker is a much nicer ride than Cornell, except for this spot. I will "try to be assertive about taking the lane" as hemp22 says.

Now that people have weighed in for while on this (thanks), I've posted a Problem Report at http://www.beavertonoregon.gov/transportation/ (thanks for the pointer bikieboy), much like my original post in this thread. Will update here if I get any response.

________________
City of Beaverton Problem Report:

Date Submitted: Saturday, January 10, 2009 3:17 PM
Report Type: Other
Department: Public Works

Location: just west of NW 174th Terrace & NW Walker Rd
Problem Description:
Hello Beaverton Public Works, I bicycle commute mostly along Walker Rd to NW 206th Ave (Amberglen area).There is a narrow squeeze point just west of NW 174th Terrace & NW Walker Rd, where it goes over a culvert. I have to get up speed and hold my breath, hoping for no trucks at the same time (or pull over if there are), since traffic of course won't slow down and insists on passing me, even between these guardrails, crossing the yellow line if necessary to get around me. Later on my route, there's a fine solution to the same problem already in place! Just east of NW 191st Ave & NW Walker Rd, there is a nice bike path around the road on both sides. This is much safer for vehicles & bikes. Can we get the same type of paths installed at 174th & Walker?
________________

lpthomas
03-18-2009, 10:51 PM
Here's the chain of emails (earliest is at the bottom) I've received in response to my Problem Report in my last post. We'll see where this goes. At least we got a response!
-Lincoln

Todd Watkins wrote on 17-Mar-2009:
> Lincoln:
>
> Thanks for taking the time to write us. We often find out, from people just like you, about locations in our system that could benefit from improvements or modifications. This particular location has been previously identified as a break in the connectivity of the pedestrian facilities on either side of the creek and as Gregg mentioned, we did have what we thought was a "shovel ready" stimulus project for this location. However, as the requirements and rules unfolded for use of the federal money, it was determined that this was not a reasonable candidate because of the restrictions and timelines established. Although it is a relatively simple project, it isn't simple enough for the stimulus package.
>
> We are currently in the process of discussing other options that may be available to us with respect to continuing with this project. However, nothing has been finalized at this time. In addition to the stimulus preparations, we are also in the middle of our budget season. It is like a big jigsaw puzzle and we still don't have all the pieces flipped over.
>
> I am sorry that I can't be more definitive but that is everything that I know at this time.
>
> If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me directly.
>
> Todd Watkins, P.E.
> Senior Engineer
> Washington County, Oregon
> Road Operations & Maintenance Division
> (503) 846 - 7650
> www.wc-roads.com
>
>
>
> From: Gregg Leion
> Sent: Monday, March 16, 2009 4:26 PM
> To: 'Lincoln Thomas'
> Cc: Todd Watkins; Clark Berry
> Subject: RE: Bike Path needed at just west of NW 174th Terrace & NW Walker Rd
>
> Mr. Thomas:
>
> As Margaret correctly pointed out, Walker Road is under the county's jurisdiction. The need for widening is recognized in the county's Transportation Plan and (eventually) with the widening will come bike lanes and sidewalks. The road is planned to be widened to a five-lane cross section but there is no date or established funding for the project. Because of its importance to east-west travel, it won't likely languish forever but its going to be an expensive project and is unlikely to be funded in the next 3 to 5 years.
>
> There has been discussion regarding possible inclusion of some interim sidewalk improvements on Walker from 173rd to Cambray Street (including a bridge over the creek) as part of the federal stimulus package for the county but it appears that environmental constraints may hamper the eligibility for stimulus funding (projects have to be 'shovel ready' and the environmental issues would create substantial delay in implementing the project). However, there is support in the nearby neighborhood for an interim sidewalk project and its possible that some local funding to build one may be found. Building a sidewalk, if it does get funded, will not really address your concerns as a cyclist unless it is designed as a shared pathway with access from the road for cyclists. If such a design were considered, the typical width of the side-path would need to be at least 10 feet to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians.
>
> I am copying Todd Watkins in the county's Capital Project Management Division with this email - he's the guy that knows the most about the potential project. This email will make him aware that there is an interest in a potential project serving both cyclists and pedestrians and the extent of the existing constraint on Walker to bicyclists (thanks to your attached photos).
>
> Hope this helps - feel free to call me if you have questions.
>
> Gregg Leion, Senior Planner - Transportation Planning
> Washington County Department of Land Use and Transportation
> 155 N First Avenue Suite 350-14
> Hillsboro, OR 97124-3072
> 503 846-3969 (Phone)
> 503 846-4412 (FAX)
> E-mail: gregg_leion@co.washington.or.us
>
Margaret Middleton wrote on 12-Jan-2009:
>
> Dear Mr. Thomas,
>
> Thank you for letting us know about your concern regarding cycling the narrow areas along Walker Road. Although the 174th/Walker Road area is within the Beaverton City limits, Walker Road is owned and maintained by Washington County. I am copying Gregg Leion at Washington County on this email so you have a contact that will respond to your inquiry. I am aware that the County will be widening Walker Road in that area, but do not know the timeframe. Gregg can update you on that as well.
>
> Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
>
> Regards,
>
> Margaret
>
> Margaret Middleton, Senior Transportation Planner
> City of Beaverton Engineering / PO Box 4755 Beaverton / OR 97076-4755
> Phone: 503.526.2424 Fax: 503.350.4052